May 17, 2022

Washington Post: “Schools Nationwide Are Quietly Removing Books From Their Libraries”

From The Washington Post:

Samantha Hull was on vacation when she got the call about the missing books.

Eight titles had melted away seemingly overnight, a panicked school aide told Hull, from the shelves of an elementary school in one of the 22 districts Hull oversees as co-chair of a group representing school librarians in Pennsylvania’s Lancaster and Lebanon counties. The books included titles such as “In My Mosque,” which instructs children about Islam; “A Place Inside of Me,” which explores a Black student’s reckoning with a police shooting; and “When Aidan Became a Brother,” whose main character is a transgender boy.

Hull, 33, couldn’t understand it: None of those books had been formally challenged by parents, even though she knew that activists across the country were targeting books featuring discussions of race, gender and LGBTQ identities for removal. The growing national furor had already arrived in Hull’s corner of Pennsylvania: Parents at a high school in Lancaster County, she said, had requested the elimination of “Gender Queer,” a memoir about being nonbinary, and “Lawn Boy,” a young-adult novel that includes a description of a sexual encounter between two boys.

Slowly — over months of meetings, investigations and secret conversations with fearful librarians across her counties — she came to understand the disturbing reality. Administrators, afraid of attracting controversy, were quietly removing books from library shelves before they could be challenged.

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Interviews with librarians in eight states and nearly a dozen districts revealed similar stories that paint what they describe as a bleak picture of their profession, as they fret about and fight against American schoolchildren’s shrinking freedom to read.

Learn More, Read the Complete Article (About 3300 words)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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